A potential expansion to SB 35 (Chapter 366, Statutes of 2017) — strongly opposed by the League of California Cities — passed out of the Senate Housing Committee on Tuesday. The new bill, SB 423 (Wiener), is now headed to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.
SB 423 would expand SB 35 to nearly all cities, including those in the coastal zone. It would also allow the state to approve housing developments on property it owns or leases and prohibit a city from enforcing its inclusionary housing ordinance if the income limits are higher than those in SB 35.
SB 35 forces cities to approve certain multifamily housing developments without public input or environmental review. The law includes several notable requirements and exemptions. SB 423 would eliminate the 2017 law’s sunset date, which would further disincentivize lawmakers from revisiting its impacts.
Cal Cities will issue a new action alert for SB 423 in the coming weeks.
Why Cal Cities opposes SB 423
Overarching laws like SB 423 undermine local efforts to spur housing construction. No other set of laws requires cities to spend millions of dollars developing complex, multiyear plans with their residents, which are then ultimately overridden by the state every year.
While it may be frustrating for some developers to address concerns about traffic, parking, and other development impacts, those directly affected by such projects have a right to be heard. Public engagement often leads to better projects. Removing public input will only further increase distrust and slow construction down even further.
The state will never produce the number of homes needed with a state-driven, by-right housing approval process. What is really needed is a sustainable state investment that matches the scale of this long-term crisis. Targeted, ongoing funding, like the annual $3 billion investment Cal Cities is calling for, is the only way to get Californians off the streets and keep them in their homes.